Review: Bacon Habanero Ranch Quarter Pounder from McDonald’s
The McDonald’s Quarter Pounder has been going strong for over 40 years and it’s a favorite for many. With the recent departure of the Angus Third Pounders, some room has opened up on the McDonald’s menu and a new trio of Quarter Pounders have taken the spot. For those of you familiar with the Angus Deluxe and the Angus Bacon & Cheese, you’ll be happy to know they are back in their new quarter pound burger form. Those of you chile-heads looking for some peppery heat from a McDonald’s burger, you’re in luck because there’s a new Bacon Habanero Ranch Quarter Pounder option.I wasn’t overly amped to get my spicy fix from a burger, but I’m usually excited when a new burger from McDonald’s enters the picture so I had to give it a shot.The Bacon Habanero Ranch Quarter Pounder is described by McDonald’s like this:
A quarter pound of 100% beef topped by smooth white cheddar, thick-cut Applewood smoked bacon, tomato and leaf lettuce, and a spicy-cool habanero ranch sauce, all on a toasted, bakery-style bun.
Spicy-cool eh? Maybe this is a way to attract the frightened customers who can’t handle the heat (ahem, me). Well, I can handle it to some extent, but I’m usually afraid that spicy will outperform the taste. If the habanero ranch sauce can have enough heat and still retain a balanced flavor, this burger will have better mass appeal than just an option for the spicy lovers.
The habanero ranch sauce has a big kick of peppery heat when sampled alone. With all of the other ingredients coming in to play, the heat is tolerable and tasty. I like to avoid any pain when I’m grubbing and perhaps my pain will come later, but in the case of the habanero ranch sauce I handled it well. The ranch aspect of the sauce is what gives it the creamy texture and that’s where the ranch ends. I was hoping for a ranch sauce with a hint of habanero and I got a habanero sauce with a hint of ranch.With the new Quarter Pounders at McDonald’s, we’re also being introduced to new bacon… FINALLY!!! I’ve never liked McDonald’s bacon very much and this thick-cut Applewood smoked bacon is long overdue. Up to this point it’s been all about Wendy’s for fast food bacon supremacy and they’ve had little competition from the national quick-service chains. In our bacon poll from last year, McDonald’s only received 21 votes for best fast food bacon with over 900 votes cast. So how’s this new McDonald’s bacon? It came across a little undercooked (which I like), and taste-wise is a big improvement over the old bacon for me. This new bacon has more of a real salty pork quality and thankfully wasn’t and flat pressed chewy dog treat like it was in the past.The cheese. The big difference here is the use of white cheddar which has been making a appearances in some of the latest featured products at McDonald’s such as the excellent Grilled Onion Cheddar Burger from the Dollar menu and the recently released Egg White Delight McMuffin. There’s only one slice of white cheddar as opposed to the two slices of American cheese in the original Quarter Pounder with Cheese. As a matter of fact, all of the new Quarter Pounders only have one slice of cheese. I was surprised with how much an extra slice of cheese means to a cheeseburger. The McDouble and the Double Cheeseburger are separated by just one slice of American cheese and its a pretty noticeable difference to me. Maybe if the Chipotle BBQ Bacon style returns in Quarter Pounder form, we’ll see the return of that extra slice of cheese. The toasted bakery-style bun was dense and sturdy. By feel alone the bun came across as stale, but taste and texture after my first bite proved otherwise. It’s a decent bun for the burger. The quarter pound beef patty felt reminiscent to the Angus line where it didn’t come across overly greasy. The slice of tomato was fresh and juicy and it helped give some moisture to the slight burn of the habanero sauce. The leaf lettuce was on the limp and wilted side… it’s normally hit or miss.The new Quarter Pounders are $3.99 and this price point is the new high standard “premium” burger price at McDonald’s. With changes in the economy and the rising costs of ingredients, I wasn’t too shocked to see the Angus Third Pounders go. The business strategy to re-brand the Quarter Pounder was made in order to avoid keeping the Angus Third Pounders and drastically increase the price. The Angus Third Pounders were holding on to that $3.99 spot and that just wasn’t making sense anymore from a business perspective. I’d imagine the appeal of an Angus Third Pounder at close to 5 bucks is something that McDonald’s needed to avoid, and for fast food, I like the decision to go with updating the Quarter Pounder instead. The introduction of new bacon and habanero ranch sauce gave me enough to not be too concerned over getting a smaller burger for the same price. As far as premium priced fast food burgers go, the Bacon Habanero Ranch is in the ballpark of what I expect these days.
In closing, the Bacon Habanero Ranch Quarter Pounder is a great spicy option at McDonald’s where the spicy options are few and far between. I found it surprising that the Bacon Habanero Ranch Quarter Pounder has 10 fewer calories than the Crispy Chicken & Bacon McWrap. The burger is a nice change of pace from the standard ingredients. The habanero ranch sauce and bacon stand out and that’s just about all I can ask for when going in to a choice like this.
Pros: New bacon. A spicy burger option.
Cons: Rising costs equal less bang for your buck. Leaf lettuce. Habanero ranch sauce wasn't very ranch-like.
Grubbing on-the-go: 6.50/10
Overall GrubGrade: 7.50/10
More Info: http://www.mcdonalds.com/us/en/food/product_nutrition.sandwiches.1161.quarter-pounder-bacon-habanero-ranch.html
Total Fat - 31 grams
Saturated Fat - 13 grams
Cholesterol - 105 milligrams
Carbs - 46 grams
Sodium - 1180 milligrams
Sugars - 10 grams
Dietary Fiber - 3 grams
Protein - 37 grams